Experience the Outdoors: Camping and Hiking for Beginners
May 23, 2013
With the warming weather, blooming landscape, and new life scrambling and crawling all around, the moment has arrived to throw off our blankets and furry slippers, rub our gloomy eyes, and toss on some light clothing for some outdoor fun! Hiking, camping, frying ants with a magnifying glass– it’s all good! Soak up some sun rays and get a little exercise and entertainment with some of these outdoor activities and accessories to help you along the new path!
Perhaps the most strenuous of the outdoor activities listed here, hiking also involves you the most with your surroundings. Being aware of your environment doesn’t just help your safety and steps, but it also connects you with nature; the lack of distractions of bustling life, like droning cars and the mindless chatter of TV, is all left behind, and now you can finally hear everything you didn’t really notice before– and you know, it’s kinda nice. But before you trek out onto the most diabolical terrain you can find, take note of some things you should consider packing beforehand:
- Proper shoes! Duh, you can’t hike in sandals. You might be able to get away with sneakers if you don’t want to purchase new boots, but be sure that the ankle support, arch support, and tread is suitable for the path or trail you intend to hike.
- Food: all that outdoor exercise will no doubt deplete your energy, so stack up on small fueling edibles like trail mix, chocolate, energy bars, and granola. Of course, what you take all depends on how long you intend to hike.
- Water: another duh item to take. Consider the trail and the weather during the duration of your hike, and use this as a gauge for how much water you should take. Hiking Dude recommends using 1/2 to 3/4 oz per pound as a baseline. (Pack smart: a 22 oz Bubi Bottle holds enough water for a short hiking trip, and when empty, the water bottle collapses into a key ring when empty!)
- First aid kit: bandages, alcohol prep pads, antiseptic, and anti-itch cream or something like StingEze should be your go-to items.
- Sunscreen: You might be a natural when tackling those hilly paths, but it ain’t nothing if you come back burnt to a fiery red crisp. Don’t forget about your ears!
If you still aren’t sure if hiking is something you wanna put your ill-prepared body through, consider trying some of these on your hike:
- If your skin is much too sensitive for hours of daylight, try Night Hiking. It’s basically what it says it is, and this type of hiking provides a bit more of a challenge but with the refreshingly cool nights of summer and more opportunity to see what’s beyond the trees around you, like a meteor shower:
- Geocaching requires a portable GPS system or a GPS app, but the mega-sized scavenger hunt is so worth all the trouble. A geocache is basically a box in a precise location that contains items from previous hikers. Once found, the contents tell you a little about each person who has been there before, and then you leave something there for the next hiker to find.
- A game of glow-in-the-dark frisbees can also be a bit exhilarating during your night hike. Just be sure that you’re not close to any cliffs or streams!
Ahh, America’s pastime. Aside from football, that is. Some people find camping to be extremely pacifying, temporarily living off the land and returning back to the basics of survival and a sort-of stripped down comfort.
Of course, there’s obvious camping gear to pack: tent, extra clothes, sleeping bag. Here’s a short list of other things you might also want to include in your backpack:
- Flashlight: try to avoid heavy-duty flashlights as they tend to be heavier. Instead, travel light with something like a Pak Lite 9V Flashlight, a super nifty mini flashlight that actually attaches to a 9 volt battery. The LED flashlight provides two lighting options, bright or soft light.
- Seating: grab a Quik -E-Seat from GCI for quick outdoor seating without the bulk. The 4-lb lawn chair holds up to 250 lbs in weight and folds back into carrying position when the handle is pulled upward:
- Utensils: depending on what you bring for munchies, you might need something like a Coleman Complete Utensil Set. The utensil set fits together in a compact and slim design of an army knife along with a functional knife and bottle opener.
Think you might be bored without the welcome distraction of your phone? Check out this list of things to do while camping, which include making smores (always a fave), learning to play a harmonica, and looking for Bigfoot. Be sure to check out Reserve America for available camping spots and dates!
While these are just two of many activities to do under the sun, there are many more things to do for fun outdoors, things that bring you together with the serenity of nature that a picture or phone app just can’t do. Put the technology away for a little bit (unless you’re going geocaching) and travel yonder into the forests, trails, or wilderness that hides fun and discovery just waiting to be experienced by you. Got another idea for an outdoor activity? Tell us about it!